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In memoriam

The achievements of Hans Erni

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Swiss painter and sculptor Hans Erni, described as "one of the most important living artists of our time" and the "Swiss Picasso", has died at the age of 106, his family announced on Sunday. A video produced by SRF and looks back on his life.

Erni, from Lucerne,  was remarkable not only for his prolific volume of work, but also for his political engagement, which sometimes got him into trouble. 

At one stage, his communist sympathies began to lose him commissions. In 1938, he designed a series of banknotes. But they never came into circulation. He later distanced himself  from the communist movement. 

Erni produced innumerable paintings, sculptures, posters and stamps. Many of the paintings featured figurative motifs, such as horses and doves.

Among his most famous works was the gigantic mural entitled “Switzerland, Holiday Land of the People”, commissioned in 1939 for the Zurich National Exhibition.

In 2009 a 60 metre long Erni mural was inaugurated at the entrance to the UN building in Geneva. Up until the very end, Erni continued to work. 

He said the secret of longevity was avoiding excess. 

Swiss public television interviewed him on the occasion of his 106th birthday.